Nigeria keeping options open about missing plane

2014-09-15 22:03

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Abuja - Nigeria's military on Monday appeared to rule out sabotage after an air force jet disappeared while on operations in the insurgency-hit northeast.

Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh indicated that enemy fire may not be to blame, telling reporters in Abuja that the military was "in full control of the airspace" in the region.

But he said they were keeping an open mind: "There are so many possibilities... we are working on it."

The Alpha Jet, with two pilots on board, left its base in Yola, Adamawa state, at about 10:45 (09:45 GMT) on Friday and had been expected back by midday the same day.

Badeh said the plane lost contact with the control tower as it returned, prompting an immediate search.

The officer said they had "an idea of where the aircraft could be" but the arid terrain, weather conditions and fighting in the region were hampering the search effort.

Badeh said he was "hopeful" of locating the jet as soon as possible and that the pilots were still alive.

Nigeria's military is under pressure to reverse recent territorial gains by Boko Haram in the northeast that have led to fears of a potential loss of government control.

Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa  |  air crashes

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